This is a step by step guide for dogs that jump on visitors when entering a property, bark excessively when door bell rings (or door knocked) or gets over excited at people entering.
The first stage is beginning a desensitisation period. The usual trigger for the above mentioned behaviours is a stimulus response to the knocking/ringing at your door. What our dogs learn is that when they hear a noise at the door we immediately answer, so in response to our reaction they do the same, only faster! This problem then escalates into extreme excitement before we even recognise that we have a problem.
To begin simply ask a family member or friend to knock/ring at your front door. Let your dog do his usual routine of responding but you do nothing, do not move to open the door, call your dog or correct them in anyway. After about a 30 second interval get you’re volunteer to repeat and you make no response. Continue to do this until your dog does not respond. Please note this can be time consuming but is essential as an initial step towards calm. One woof is allowed but the dog must move away from the door of free will and not be in a state of excitement. Once at this stage you are ready to move on. For future reference after the initial work this will have to be reinforced regularly until your dog understands that every time the door goes staying calm will get it opened quicker so I recommend popping a note on your door to say “dog in training please be patient”.
Stage two; ask your dog for a sit/stay a good distance from the door, we don’t want to put them off welcoming visitors! Once they are in this position approach door to answer. If at any point your dog gets up stop what you are doing and get your dog into a sit/stay. If you touch the door handle and they respond you stop get them to sit/stay, if you open the door and they respond shut the door and return to a sit/stay; this is why it is important that they are a good distance so they don’t get trapped in the door. When you can open the door and invite your guest in you can move onto the next stage. Please hold your dog in a sit/stay.
Stage three; when your guest comes in if your dog advances towards them get your guest to stop and turn their back, you should then get your dog by the collar (or house line http://www.ultimateanimals.co.uk/acatalog/info_17429VIT.html if safer) and walk them away getting your guest to leave and repeat stage two through three again. What you are going to achieve here is in order for your dog to get the attention they desire is to remain calm. At this point if your dog approaches your guest calmly that is ok. If you do get a calm reaction or if your dog remains in sit/stay then you are ready to move onto the next stage.
Stage four; so now your guest can enter your home without excessive barking or excitement it’s time to back that up, if your dog remains calm sniffing at your guest that is ok, your guest can then pat your dog, make sure they do not use a high pitch voice encouraging your dog to get excited. If this is successful then a reward for the dog and you can now go about your business! If at any point your dog goes to jump on your guest ask your guest to turn their back on your dog giving your dog no attention at all for jumping, as soon as the jumping stops your dog can be asked to sit and then rewarded for remaining on the ground (the best reward in these circumstances is attention as that is what the dog is seeking).
You will have to repeat this as many times as it takes to get the response that you find desired. Please do not get frustrated or keep giving your dog verbal commands as this will only confuse them interfering with the ability to learn. If you have a dog that jumps & mouths ask your guest to keep their arms folded until the dog calms down. It will benefit you and your dog to practice this as often as you can to get the best results quicker. Please remember patience & consistency is the best tools for the job.